Finger-Clicking Good

Why you have to see Bobby Badfingers finger-snap the drum solo to "Wipe Out"

A Real Mayoral Face-Off

Now that the California Supreme Court has spoken, ordering a halt to same-sex nuptials in San Francisco while it spends a few months deciding whether the city has the authority to flout state law and issue marriage licenses, it's time for the gay community to take a deep breath, sit back, and reflect. Indeed, at this crucial juncture, we must remember that the debate has moved into the national consciousness largely because of two daring mayors on opposite coasts: San Francisco's Gavin Newsom, who first challenged the law against gay marriage by presiding over ceremonies on the steps of City Hall, and Jason West, the 26-year-old Green Party mayor of tiny New Paltz, N.Y., who followed Newsom's lead and married several couples last month at Village Hall. In all the morning-show hubbub over state statutes and possible amendments to the U.S. Constitution, there remains one honest, universal, and unasked question about the two men at the heart of this issue.

Namely: Who's cuter?

Thankfully, the good folks at -- and no, this isn't the first time Dog Bites has thanked them -- have tackled the thorny controversy head-on, via an Internet survey ( The question -- "Who has the cutest mayor?" -- is posed over dueling photographs of the stud politicians, and the pictures couldn't be more different, or more telling. The photo of Newsom is typical mayor-at-work fare: A well-coiffed Gavin sits at his desk in front of an American flag (!), staring into space (thoughtfully, we suppose), while his left index finger rests on his lower lip. Bor-ing. The boyish West, by contrast, is shown in a smiling head-shot against a backdrop of greenery, and we are forced to imaginehow hard he works by gazing into his piercing blue eyes and yellow teeth. Two courageous mayors, two different approaches, two brunets -- how to choose?!?

As of press time, Newsome (that's how they spelled it on the poll) was leading comfortably, garnering about 60 percent of the nearly 2,500 votes. If only his mayoral election had been so easy! Some exit-poll comments at the bottom of the page are revealing: "Gavin is pure angular W.A.S.P.-liciousness while Jason has an unfortunate Tom-Cruise-with-better-if-browner-teeth thing going on. I would not kick either out of bed, however." Says another: "Go West! Newsom is just too 'groomed' and, while not bad looking, has that horrible 'metrosexual' thing going on. ... Whatever. I'd do West in anyway he wanted because, it seems, if push came to shove, he'd probably be more open to the idea and thus willing to go there. I'd probably have to 'negotiate' with Newsom."

Um, probably.

San Francisco, your mayor needs your help! Get out there and vote (again) and help Newsom win the only kind of election that really matters: a beauty contest.

Finger-Clicking Good

Newsom is certainly making national headlines, but he's not the only local product soaking up his 15 minutes of fame. A Dog Bites correspondent sends this dispatch from the front lines of the entertainment world:

Let us start by saying, simply, that there are many excellent things about Bobby "Badfingers" Von Merta, the self-proclaimed World's Fastest Finger Snapper (30 clicks per second, he claims). Among them:

He can snap out any rhythm he hears, from conga beats to military marching cadences.

During performances, the San Francisco native wears sunglasses, tight black pants, and a rhinestone-encrusted black silk shirt that exhibits his plentiful chest hair.

During said live act, Badfingers mixes finger-snapping with mesmerizing, pelvic-jutting dance moves, which he based on martial arts footwork (he's a black belt) -- except for his signature disco shimmy, which he stole from a stripper.

He pals around with John Stamos and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos.

During one of his numerous appearances on theHoward Stern Show, he performed his most popular number, "Wipe Out," and a caller told him that it sounded like he was "beating his monkey."

Before becoming a professional snappist a couple of years ago, he sold RVs.

Indeed, the list of Things That Are Excellent About Bobby Badfingers is nearly endless; in fact, we haven't been so unabashedly enthusiastic about a live act since we heard Charo had a new thing going in Vegas. But there's more: Badfingers, who just shot a commercial for Yahoo!, is in the midst of establishing a "finger-snapping media empire" by creating a how-to book and instructional DVD titledSnapology 101 for Whippersnappers. He's also commissioned a cartoon calledSnapmaster Badfingers and His Homies.

After viewing his demo reel, we knew we had to sidle up to this superstar-to-be, and immediately e-mailed his people (aka Tom Borden, a San Francisco-based freelance film producer who once made an award-winning documentary about a NASA scientist/sax player who performs nude, and while masturbating). His people called Badfingers. Badfingers called us.

The snappist greeted us enthusiastically on the phone, his voice oozing the kind of alarming optimism frequently associated with daytime game-show hosts or, well, RV salesmen. In what we would soon learn is a well-worn personal chestnut, Badfingers told us that he began snapping at age 4 after watching flamenco dancers on TV. "I couldn't see their castanets," he said. "I asked my parents, and they said, 'Sure, they're snapping their fingers. Why don't you try?' So I did."

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